This is the soundtrack to Remember Me, an unreleased GBA action-RPG (later traditional RPG) that was in development in 2001. I composed these songs in the spring and summer of 2001 when I was 19.
Remember Me was in development at Sparkle Game Co, a small independent game development studio that never managed to publish any games (to my knowledge). I got in touch with the owner (also the lead designer on the game) through an ad, he liked my music, and he brought me on to do the soundtrack.
While there is virtually no coverage of it that can be found on the web today, it received a decent amount of press coverage at the time, most prominently a recurring Developer Diary feature on GameBoyDojo, one of the many satellite websites under the IGN umbrella at the time.
The development of Remember Me was troubled from the start. We didn't have official GBA development kits. An initial PC (Windows) demo was cobbled together and shopped around to a few publishers at E3 in 2001. Later on, there was some progress on a GBA build using an unofficial development kit, but I don't recall this getting very far.
I left the development team in late summer on bad terms. No one was happy with how development was progressing, and it felt like nothing was getting done. The lead programmer left a little while after that, and I don't think they ever recovered.
I've gone back to the soundtrack since then, and I still really like some of it! By this time, I had some music theory under my belt, knew quite a bit about MIDI and electronic music production, and had enough experience from writing music all through my teens to be able to structure a song properly.
Since I didn't have access to any GBA development tools, these were all composed and recorded on a Roland JV-1080. My plan was to either build a soundfont by sampling my JV-1080 patches or just shove full recordings of the songs in there if we were able to get a large enough ROM. These songs were probably a bit ambitious compared to what GBA sound was like at the beginning of its life, but they're reasonably in line with the music in later GBA games like Aria of Sorrow.
The best recordings I have are only 128kbps MP3. They're pretty clean, but they were meant to be WIP demos, so they aren't properly mixed. Unfortunately, the original MIDI source files seem to be lost.
In retrospect, we were all a bunch of kids that had no hope of pulling together our vision, but I'm still proud that we tried and the music that came out of it!
Some thoughts on the individual songs:
Autumn Song: This was the first song I wrote for the game. I remember being given the instructions of making a song with an "autumn feel," and I just went with it. I don't recall any particular influence, but I think I was mainly trying to channel Secret of Mana.
Our Peaceful Town: This was supposed to be a sort of slightly melancholy small town theme, maybe for the opening town.
Epsilon Castle: The title must have come from a castle in the design doc, because I don't think I'd come up with that name otherwise. This is a big, baroque castle theme. I was thinking of the Figaro Castle music from FF6. I like the time signature switch-up I threw in at the end!
Caves: This was straight-up an attempt to do the Palace music from the TGCD arrangement of Ys I, although I put it in 5/4 to put a spin on it.
Unfinished Theme: I dunno why I thought this was "unfinished," because it's pretty far along. It has a stronger beat than the rest of the soundtrack. I was also making house/techno around this time, and some that influence seeped in. I really like this one, actually.
Forest: This is one we released to the public as a teaser. The song I had in my head writing this was Chrono Trigger "Secret of the Forest," but I think some "Kokiri Forest" from OoT got in there subconsciously.
Song of Sorrow: This was the music for sad events. I like it, but I can't really remember too much about writing it. I think it was just another song I banged out one day.
Pirate Island: I cannot remember for the life of me if there was an actual pirate island in the design doc. I was probably thinking about the pirate stuff with Faris in FFV.
Flashback (Remember Me): This is more Sad Event music. I really like the opening melody for this one, but I was never quite happy with the B section.
Village Theme: I think there were some complaints that Our Peaceful Town was too sad for town music, so I also composed this peppy tune.
Fragment 1 (March): This is just a little snippet of an idea for a march tune that could be used for soldiers marching to battle.
Fragment 2 (Happy): This is another snippet that was trying to do something like some of the goofier music in Secret of Mana.
Fragment 3 (Davin): Davin was the main character in Remember Me, and this is a rough sketch of the chords and melody. I like the melody, but I never fleshed it out.